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Multivibrator Circuits

Bistable multivibrators

Multivibrators Circuits characterized by the existence of some well defined states, amongst which take place fast transitions, called switching processes. A switching process is a fast change in value of a current or a voltage, the fast process implying the existence of positive reaction loops, or negative resistances. The switching can be triggered from outside, by means of command signals, or from inside, by slow charge accumulation and the reaching of a critical state by certain electrical quantities in the circuit. Circuits have two, well defined states, which can be either stable or unstable A stable state is a state, in which the circuit, in absence of a driving signal, can remain for an unlimited period of time The circuit can remain in an unstable state only for a limited period of time, after which, in the absence of any exterior command signals, it switches into the other state. The multivibrator circuits can be grouped, according to their number of stable (steady) states, into: - flip-flops (bistable circuits) with both states being stable - monostable circuits, having a stable and an unstable state - astable circuits, with both states being unstable

Flip-flop circuits

The main feature of the flip-flop circuits is the existence of two stable states, in which the circuit may remain for a long time. The switching from one state to the other is triggered by command signals Flip flop: an example for a sequential circuit (a circuit with outputs that present logical values depending on a certain sequence of signals, that have previously existed in the circuit). Because of this behavior, sequential circuits have the capability of storing information (memories). Unlike sequential circuits, combinational circuits, consisting of logical gates, have outputs, which depend only on the current inputs Flip-flop circuits may be classified into symmetrical and non-symmetrical

Symmetrical Flip-flop Circuits With Discrete Components

Basic layout presented at right

A1 and A2 are two amplifiers connected in a positive reaction loop, through the voltage divider made out of the resistances R and r

Design with discrete components Amplifying stages made out of the transistors T1 and T2 Connected together through the positive reaction represented by the voltage dividers R and r A part of the collector-emitter voltage of one transistor is transmitted into the base of the other transistor

Circuit operation: If current IC1 experiences a small rise, this leads to the decrease of the voltage drop UC1, which is transmitted through the voltage divider R-r into the base of T2 transistor. The decrease in the voltage drop UB2 will be amplified and inverted by the transistor, so the voltage drop UC2 will increase, and this increase will be transmitted in the base of the T1 transistor, through the R-r voltage divider. Because of that, IC1 will increase even more. As a consequence a switching process takes place, which develops like an avalanche: the IC1 current increases and the IC2 decreases, until T1 becomes saturated , and T2 off State is stable, because the positive reaction loop is interrupted, due to the Blocking state of transistor T2 Two stable states: 1. T1 conducting (saturated), T2 - blocked 2. T1 - blocked, T2 - conducting (saturated).

In order for a bistable to work in this manner elements have to be sized, so that they satisfy the following conditions: 1). when T1 is blocked, T2 has to be saturated 2). when T1 is saturated, T2 has to be blocked 3). when T1 and T2 are in forward active state, the amplification on the positive reaction loop has to be greater then one. Because of symmetry of the circuit, the conditions 1) and 2) are equivalent. Moreover, it can be proven, that, if conditions 1) and 2) are satisfied, then condition 3) will also be satisfied. Finally condition 1) is a necessary and sufficient condition for the correct functioning of the circuit Condition 1) requires that the following inequalities be true:

UB1 0 IB2 IBs , where


Blocking condition for T1 gives relations: UB1 0, I C 0

U B1 + E B U B1 = r R

U B1 = I Co

R r R EB R + r R + r

EB r IC0
EB ICo ma x

For any temperature conditions, take: r

The saturation condition for the T2 transistor: EC EB I B2 R EB R C R + RC r 1 + r EC For worst case:

mi n R - 1 RC E R B C 1 + mi n EC r

- 1 RC


mi n R - 1 RC ICo ma x 1 + mi n ICs

The Influence Of A Load Resistance On The States Stability Connection of a load resistance at the output of a bistable may have a negative influence on the stability of the states, because it modifies the equivalent resistance of the collector circuit, affecting the distribution of voltages Load resistance may be connected at one of the outputs, in parallel with the resistor RC (case Rs1), or in parallel with the transistor T2 (case Rs2) If load resistance Rs1 is connected, connected equivalent collector resistance becomes: R C R S1 ' RC = R C | | R S1 = R C + R S1 R'C< RC , so collector current is higher, driving base current must be higher

Greater base current IB2 is needed, so the value of the coupling resistor R has to be decreased. If the value of the load resistor decreases below a minimum value (Rs1< Rsmin), then the saturation condition of the T2 transistor , IB2 ICs is no longer true. When the transistor T2 is blocked, the load resistance Rs1 has no influence The load resistance Rs2 is connected: connected If transistor T2 saturated, the load will practically have no influence because the output resistance of the transistor in saturation is extremely small When T2 is blocked, the load will cause the decrease of the collector voltage and of the base current IB1 of the saturated transistor T1 R C R S2 R S2 ' RC = EC UC2 = R S2 + R C R C + R S2

I B2 =

U C2 EB R 'C + R r
may be neglected, also RC<<RC so: I B 2

EB = ICo r

U C2 R

Because UC2 < EC, to keep T1 saturated, need for a lower R

Driving Flip-flop Circuits Two fundamental methods for driving a flip-flop circuit: a). driving using separate paths for each transistor (RS type flip-flop circuit). b). driving using a common path (T type flip-flop circuit) Flip-flop circuits use one of the above described methods, or even both methods (RST or JK type flip-flop circuits ) Driving pulses may be applied on either the base or collector of the transistors The polarity of the driving impulses, may be either positive or negative. The role of the driving signal is not necessarily to cause by itself the switching of the flip flop, but rather to initiate a regenerating process that will lead to this Regardless of the type of the transistor (pnp or npn) driving the blocking of the conducting transistor has some advantages: - the sensibility of the flip-flop is higher - the energy needed for the impulse to trigger the switching is smaller. A flip-flop circuit using npn transistors will switch in optimal conditions if a negative pulse is applied on the base of the blocked transistor

In order to drive a flip-flop circuit with both pulses and voltage levels circuits usually have RC differentiating circuits. Through differentiation, positive and also negative peaks emerge, so, the possibility of unwanted double-switching exists. In order to avoid this situation the differentiating circuits are followed by clipping diodes, which prevent peaks with unwanted polarity from passing through Base-driven flip-flop circuit using separate paths Be the circuit in state T1- saturated and T2- off If a driving impulse is applied at the input S, having the amplitude Ec, it will be differentiated by the R2C2 differentiating circuit. Diode D2 will cut the positive voltage peaks and permit only the negative peaks to pas These negative voltage peaks will block T2 even more The switching does not take place in this case.

If the driving impulse is applied at the input R, the negative voltage peaks, which reach the base of the T1 transistor, will block it, causing the switching of the flip-flop circuit In order, for both diodes to be blocked in stationary functioning regime, it is recommended that they are both reverse biased with a positive voltage EP Value of this voltage is chosen a little higher than the base-emitter voltage drop of the saturated transistor. There are cases in which a separate voltage source for biasing the diodes is not used, but rather a positive voltage obtained from a voltage divider, which is connected to the voltage source EC This way, regardless of the polarity of the driving impulses only the negative peaks will reach the base circuit. They will cause the switching of the circuit, if the corresponding transistor is conducting, having no effect otherwise.

Collector-driven flip-flop circuit using separate paths Driving circuit is identical, the driving signal is applied on the collectors of transistors. Potential EC is used as a positive bias voltage for diodes Particularity: depending on the state of the circuit, one of the diodes is strongly blocked (biased with a reverse voltage approx. EC, while the other one is blocked with a small reverse bias voltage: R or: U Rc = E C - U C 2 E C - E C

RC + R

U Rc E C

R RC + R

Base-driven circuits have some advantages, because it allows higher switching frequencies, and a higher sensitivity

Base-driven flip-flop circuit using common path Be circuit in state: T1- saturated and T2- blocked. Voltages in different points of the schematics have the following typical values (for silicon transistors): UC1 = +0,1V; UB1 = +0,7V; UB2 = -0,1V D1 diode is therefore conducting, and D2 is blocked with a high reverse bias voltage. The driving pulse T is differentiated by the groups Rd1, C1 and Rd2, C2. The sharp positive pulses resulted through differentiation will be cut-off by diodes D1 and D2. From the two negative pulses resulted through differentiation, only the one applied on the cathode of the conducting diode D1 will pass through, while the other one will not be able to pass through the blocked diode D2. Driving signal will cause the switching of the circuit, because a sharp negative pulse is applied on the base of the conducting transistor

Collector-driven flip-flop circuit using common path Be the circuit is in state: T1- saturated and T2- off Voltages in different points: UC1 = +0,1V; UC2 +EC, UA Ec D1 diode is blocked with a reverse bias voltage approx. equal to EC, while D2 diode is blocked with a small reverse bias voltage, equal to the voltage drop on the RC Driving pulse applied at the input T is differentiated by RdCd. The negative voltage peaks, which result through differentiation (due to polarity of the diodes) can reach only the collector of the blocked transistor (the negative voltage leap is transmitted, is this case, through the D2 diode in the collector of the cut-off T2 transistor), making it to switch on.

Asynchronous S-R type flip-flop circuit

RS type flip-flop with NOR gates

Symmetrical RS type flip-flop with NOR gates

Simple flip-flop circuit may be built, from a logical point of view, by introducing a reaction loop in a logic gate network, made out of NOR or NAND gates. Inputs of the flip-flop circuit are called S (set) and R (reset)
S 1 0 0 1 R 0 1 0 1 Q+ 1 0 Q Not allowed inputs

RS flip flop truth table

RS type CMOS integrated flip-flop circuit with NAND gates

RS type CMOS integrated flip-flop circuit with NOR gates

An integrated circuit that contains RS type flip-flops with CMOS components: 4043 integrated circuit, which has four RS type flip-flops (latches)

One of the four latches

Flip-flop with MOS components

Open circuit No change Indifferent value

The internal logical schematics for the 4043 circuit

Synchronous SR type flip-flops Synchronous RS type flip-flops have two data inputs: R and S and a clock input: T. The information from the data inputs R and S is received by the flip-flop only at the arrival of a clock pulse, either the positive or the negative edge.

The synchronous RS type circuit has a clock signal (the inputs R and S remain asynchronous), which controls the evolution of the circuit. It also has two other inputs, Clear and Preset, which act directly on the outputs Q and Q- overriding the inputs R and S

RS master-slave flip-flop

RS master-slave flip-flop: designed to overcome the disadvantages of cascading several RS type flip-flops (the possible non-determination of the states for each flip-flop) First flip-flop, called master flip-flop is driven by the data inputs R and S, while the second flip-flop, called slave flip-flop, is being driven by the outputs of the master flip-flop. Short description: -on the rising edge of clock pulse, the master flip-flop is disconnected from the slave flip-flop, as they cant communicate; On this edge, the S and R inputs act on the master flip-flop, determining the corresponding switching -when the clock signal goes from 1 into 0, on the falling edge, the slave RS inputs are disconnected from the master; the outputs of the master drive the state of the slave. This way, only one single flip-flop is active at a given moment, the outputs of the master-slave flip-flop being completely isolated from its inputs. Using this circuit, logic uncertainty for a sequence of flip-flops is avoided.